After a tumultuous year in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and disrupted all plans, we have gradually resumed our activities. The year 2021 allowed us to reimagine how we can ensure this gradual resumption both at the institutional level and above all with our targets, namely small-scale farmers and policy makers. Following our classic intervention approach, we conducted studies to better understand the impact of the pandemic on farmers in order to identify the most relevant solutions to the problems they face. One of the studies showed, for example, that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a renewed interest in healthy local produce, especially vegetables. As a result, we have provided market gardening cooperatives with the seeds of vegetables that are widely consumed by households. This activity has also been reinforced by support for the certification and marketing of market garden produce.
On another level, ACED has made significant strides in promoting the use of evidence. For example, we published a flagship report on the use of evidence for local development, which provided several avenues for strengthening our work in this area. In addition, with our partners USAID, Save The Children and 3ie, we launched a major initiative to build the capacity of West African Civil Society Organisations to access, understand and use evidence to improve the design and implementation of food security and nutrition interventions.
For the year 2022, we hope for a definitive return to normalcy in order to continue our activities and ensure the realisation of the ambitions set out in our Strategic Plan 2020–2024. We will launch new projects, including the Evidence Helpdesk, support policy makers to strengthen the policy, regulatory and institutional environment for e-agriculture in Benin and develop a research agenda on food security and nutrition.. We would like to thank all our technical and financial partners who continue to support our mission.
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Executive Director, ACED